Myanmar Independent TravelBurma Independent Travel
Southeast Asia's last border: 5 ways to Burma
Burma's Burmese politics - now better known as Myanmar - have become more and more beautiful since the National League for Democracy (NLD) took office as ruling partner last year and have seen a further improve this past year. Burma borders India, Bangladesh, China, Laos and Thailand and is an exhilarating place to meet between the typical countries of India and Southeast Asia.
It is a town that is just as far away-chaotic as Mumbai or Hanoi; cracks on the roadside hotplates, scrap and boulders on betel nut-juice-striped sidewalks, and the indigenous men are wearing Longyi (chequered sarongs). Yangon and Mandalay are a good place to be in January and February when it's cold but not too warm.
The majority of Burmese stations will be connected to visits to sanctuaries - it is one of the most devout of all the Buddha Schools in the country, and even on a shaking coach on devastated country lanes you can see gold Stupa glistening in the far bushland. However, by far the most formidable battle of Buddhism is in Bagan, where virtually thousand of reddish brickwork pavilions are spread over grassland.
Burma's most visited tourist attraction next to Bagan, Inle Lake, is without a doubt a unique one. The Irrawaddy River is Burma's longest river in the western part, and a slow trip on this water route from Mandalay to Bagan is a favourite area. Therefore, the peak viewing period would be the end of September and the beginning of October, as the wet seasons are over but the temperature remains high.
On an excursion to Kalaw, a former mountain resort in Britain, you can experience Burma at first hand. There are certainly places of worship in Burma, but besides the powerful Shwedagon, these two are probably the most impressive in visual terms. Popa Taungkalat Convent is located on a volcano cone near Mount Popa, about 50 km southeast of Bagan, and is a favourite place from which to enjoy a 360 degree panoramic views of the nearby plain.
According to tradition, the Golden Rock is balanced on a wisp of Buddha's head. No non-stop UK-Yangon services are available, but the carriers that fly into the UK are Qatar Airways, Thai Airways, Emirates, Singapore Airways and Cathay Pacific. It is generally better to use currency in Burma as it can be difficult to find ATM machines.